A BARRHEAD man who beat Covid after spending two weeks on a ventilator is taking part in a new initiative which aims to boost the recovery of some of the worst-affected coronavirus survivors.

Tam McCue, 64, admits he thought he might not survive as his condition worsened at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, in Paisley.

However, thanks to expert medical help, he pulled through and is now among the first Covid survivors to be enrolled on the InS:PIRE (Intensive Care Recovery: Supporting and Promoting Independence and Return to Employment) programme.

This involves a five-week treatment plan which helps combat some of the physical and psychological impacts of being treated in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), such as reduced mobility, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.

The programme consists of a mixture of individual and group clinics taking place over the Zoom and Near Me web-based platforms, as well as peer support groups which help survivors to share their experiences and learn from others.

Specialist teams guide the sessions and deliver advice.

The group sessions are supplemented by weekly individual clinician and nurse-led consultations which have input from pharmacists, physiotherapists and psychologists.

Mr McCue told the Barrhead News: “I lived an active lifestyle before the virus and then, when I caught it, I spent a long time in ICU, completely immobile, which took its toll.

“Even three months later, doing the basics can still take it out of me and I recognise it’ll be a long time before I’m anywhere near back to where I was before.

“InS:PIRE has given me a strong grounding to get to where I want to be and the team has been excellent in providing advice and support. Even though they have to be delivered online, the clinics have been really helpful and I’m sure will help many other patients like myself in the future.”

Dr Lisa Gemmell, ICU consultant at the RAH, said that, while ICU provides lifesaving treatment for patients, it can also take a significant emotional and physical toll on them.

“We know that Covid-19 patients admitted to ICU can be here for a sustained period of time, which means the recovery process is likely going to be a lengthy and difficult journey for many,” she added.

“The InS:PIRE programme provides a well-established and crucial means of support for these patients once they have been discharged from hospital.

“We know from experience that having a peer support group can really help accelerate recovery and remind ICU patients they are not on their own. This, coupled with the multi-service approach over the five-week period, means patients receive a package of care made up from different disciplines working in tandem to ensure as speedy a recovery as possible.”